Center fielder Andrew McCutchen and manager Clint Hurdle were named finalists for Baseball Writers Association of America awards Tuesday evening in another recognition of the Pirates’ 2013 season.
McCutchen was named a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player award and Hurdle a finalist for Manager of the Year. The top three vote-getters from BBWAA members were named finalists.
McCutchen, a favorite for the MVP, hit .317 with a .404 on-base percentage and 21 home runs this season. He stole 27 bases, played in 157 games and made his third consecutive All-Star team. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina were named the other finalists.
The 27-year-old McCutchen finished his fifth major league season ranked in the top 10 in the NL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and steals. He ranked second in the league with a 158 adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage, which corrects for different ballpark effects. One hundred is league average.
McCutchen’s 8.2 Wins Above Replacement was the most among NL batters, according to Fangraphs.com. Baseball-Reference.com’s version of WAR ranked him third, behind Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw and Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez.
McCutchen finished third in MVP voting last season and would become the first Pirate since Barry Bonds in 1992 to win the award. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey won in 2012 and Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun finished second.
In Hurdle’s third season with the Pirates, he led them to a 94-68 record, a wild-card playoff game win and a loss in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series. After two consecutive falls from contention in the second half of the season in 2011-12, the Pirates this season went 38-31 in the second half last year.
Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves were the other two finalists. The BBWAA voted on the awards before the playoffs began.
No Pirates manager has won the award since Jim Leyland in 1992, the previous season before this one that the Pirates had a winning record.